High security at Sussex University BDS event

Two people were asked to leave an anti-Israel event at Sussex University last Thursday.

The event, which was held to coincide with Israel Apartheid Week, was organised by students from the university's Friends of Palestine group at a campus lecture theatre.

Members of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions group, including anti-Israel activist Therezia Cooper, were invited to speak at the event , which was attended by around 80 people.

A Sussex University spokesperson confirmed that there was “extra security to ensure the event could take place safely and peacefully” after members of Sussex Friends of Israel said they would picket the event if they were not granted admission.

Two people, one pro-Israel and another anti-Israel activist, were asked to leave the event by security staff for disruptive behaviour. At least two other attendees were warned by security for disruptive behaviour.

A university spokesperson explained: “This was a student event and not a meeting organised by the university itself. Nor was it part of the teaching programme of the University.

“The university has a clear policy on free speech in relation to meetings on university premises.

“This policy and protection of free speech does not allow the university to cancel or forbid meetings on the grounds that controversial views are being expressed. People who dislike the views expressed are free to express their own views by way of peaceful protest.”

Last updated: 3:46pm, March 4 2013